On the morning of Dec. 22, Laguna Beach silk painter Olivia Batchelder woke up her boyfriend, Steve O'Neil, as rain pounded the high-beamed roof of her Laguna Canyon home.
It was 3 a.m., and she'd never heard such a racket in a rainstorm. Something told her this was more serious than any storm she'd weathered in the 12 years she has lived next to the creek.
"I told him to get up, but he said not to worry about it," Batchelder recalled. "So I handed him his jeans and pulled him out of bed."
Outside, they encountered a creeping mass of mud, peppered with glass, from a long-forgotten dump site on the hill next to the creekside home.
"We were walking around barefoot on broken glass and somehow we didn't get cut," Batchelder said.
The glass was the top layer of a wall of mud that slid from the city-owned parcel.